FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Dec. 10, 2014 – Williams Lake, BC: In support of the federal government’s announcement last week of new regulations to deal with aquatic invasive species, the Invasive Species Council of BC today called on the federal government to expand their list of invasive species, to commit financial resources to implement the regulations, and to have these regulations in place by the start of boating season this coming spring.
“These new federal regulations are needed to expand the active work in BC on priority aquatic issues,” says Gail Wallin, Executive Director of the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC). “ISCBC and our partners definitely support the implementation of these regulations as soon as possible. We need them in place by the coming boating season so we can have better prevention and enforcement measures in place at federal parks and international borders.”
The proposed federal Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations would put rules in place to help prevent intentional and unintentional introductions of aquatic invasive species in Canada from other countries and across provincial and territorial borders. For example, border staff would now have the authority to compel boat owners crossing into Canada to be inspected for listed invasive species. ISCBC offers training on proper boat inspection techniques, and works with governments and other organizations to create consistent reporting and inspecting approaches and effective communications, but up to now inspection of boats has been only voluntary at federal borders.
While ISCBC supports the new regulations, it does want some assurances. “We are calling for an effective and streamlined means to amend the current listing of aquatic species to reflect scientific review and provincial regulations,” added Wallin. “We want to be sure the federal list reflects, for example, species of concern in the BC Controlled Alien Species Regulation. These federal regulations are an important parallel regulation to the provincial rules which were put in place December 2012.”
ISCBC also called for the federal government to step beyond regulations to put resources in place at the federal level and to support key partnerships for ensuring prevention measures and quick response to new aquatic invasives.
ISCBC has been involved within BC and in partnership with surrounding jurisdictions in working with boaters and key organizations to prevent the import of invasive mussels and other aquatic invasive species. ISCBC has been running the Clean, Drain Dry program for three years, aimed at boaters to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species. Clean, Drain, Dry encourages responsible boater behaviours and was run in 33 communities last year, with more than 2,800 boaters committing to cleaning, draining and drying boats and equipment before entering a new water body.
About the Invasive Species Council of BC
The Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC) is working to minimize the negative ecological, social, and economic impacts caused by the introduction, establishment, and spread of invasive species. Their goals are to: educate the public and professionals about invasive species and their risks to ecosystems and economies through activities such as workshops, seminars and newsletters; coordinate and fund research relating to invasive species and make this available to the public; and undertake and support actions that improve the health of BC’s natural ecosystems. For more information or to find your local invasive species committee visit www.bcinvasives.ca.
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